Lincoln launches largest advertising campaign yet


2013 Lincoln MKZIn an attempt to reinvent itself, Lincoln launched the effort 12/3 in conjunction with its new 2013 MKZ sedan. As part of the multimedia effort, Lincoln will take full-page ads in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

The ads ask: “Does the world need another luxury car?” and explain what the new Lincoln will offer.

Over the last decade, Lincoln’s sales have steadily declined and its average buyer is 65, one of the industry’s oldest. Last year, offering a line of three cars and three SUVs, Lincoln sold only 85,643 vehicles in the U.S.–down slightly from the year before. This year, Lincoln ranks eighth in the American luxury segment, with sales down 2%, to 69,000, vehicles in the first 10 months of the year.

“Lincoln has been off the radar for many people,” Matt VanDyke, global head of marketing, sales and service for Lincoln, told Automotive News. “What we want to do is establish it quickly.”

“It’s a marketing tag line, but also a call to action to Lincoln customers to signal a real and substantive change,” VanDyke told the trade pub.

The campaign will include a one-minute spot during the Super Bowl.

The division hopes to attract new customers that it calls “cultural progressives,” which VanDyke says account for about a quarter of the luxury market. They tend to be curious about new experiences, open to new ideas and younger and wealthier than Lincoln’s current customers.

The campaign features Abraham Lincoln, the president for whom the car brand is named. It plays down the Ford connection and Ford is also renaming Lincoln the Lincoln Motor Co.

Ford’s chief executive, Alan R. Mulally, will begin the rebranding effort at an event outside Lincoln Center in Manhattan — the first in a series of moves meant to reverse Lincoln’s decline.

A television spot begins with an image of Lincoln, stovepipe hat and all. The brand’s first Super Bowl commercial is in the works, as is a revamped website that links consumers to a Lincoln “concierge” who can arrange test drives or set up appointments at dealerships, reported The NY Times.

Mulally will also announce the on-sale date in early 2013 for the radically redesigned MKZ, as well as plans for three new vehicles down the road.

Lincoln accounts for only 3% of Ford’s total sales, down from 8% during the brand’s heyday. And since Ford has sold off foreign luxury divisions like Volvo and Jaguar, Lincoln is the sole upscale brand in the company.

A newly formed team of 200 people is intent on establishing the Lincoln Motor Company as a boutique luxury line known for personalized service. Every customer who reserves an MKZ, for example, will be presented with an elegant gift upon receiving the car. Choices include a selection of wines and Champagne, custom-made jewelry or sunglasses, or a one-night stay at a Ritz-Carlton hotel. Lincoln’s Web site will also have a consultant available 24 hours a day for live discussions about the products and to streamline the buying process. Prospective buyers will be given an opportunity for a “date night” with Lincoln, which includes a two-day test drive and a free meal at a restaurant.

See the NY Times story here.

RBR-TVBR observation: They’ve got enough to work with—the car’s re-design is pretty good. Ads should put the car in the hands of younger professionals too—having fun with its power and gadgets. When luxury is tied in as well, you’ll get both older and younger demos interested. This is how Cadillac did it. If younger demos convincingly like the car and enjoy pushing it a bit on performance, older demos will be drawn to it as well—to feel younger. Not sure how Abraham Lincoln will do this in the campaign, but haven’t seen it yet.